COVID-19 smacked the world upside the head. It shook loose our careful routines and livelihoods. It showed us everything that we take for granted. Covid gave us the reminder it could all be taken away.
A lot of people died because of the pandemic. A lot is an understatement. Two and a half million people have reportedly died from Covid in the world. Millions of others have lost jobs, homes, and businesses.
Undoubtedly, it’s hard to be thankful and grateful right now. But here’s the thing, we need to be.
There are many things we can do to help us be grateful, but before we talk about those, let’s talk about why you should be grateful.
Why you should be grateful
There are mental and physical health benefits of being grateful. Often, we equate happiness as leading to being grateful. However, it’s actually the other way around. Being thankful for our life leads to being happier.
The mental benefits
Being grateful in your life can have a direct impact on depression and anxiety. It is a bit of a cycle that can be difficult to get out of. If someone is feeling depressed or anxious, then it can take a lot of work to override those feelings and be thankful.
In an article published by Harvard Health Publishing, they explained that gratitude is clearly linked to happiness. When we are grateful, we tend to be more optimistic, and when we are optimistic it leads to being positive about what we are experiencing. This ends up creating a positive feedback loop that can create happiness.
This feeling of thankfulness can also improve relationships. Whether those relationships are with friends, parents, children, or a significant other, being grateful can lead to stronger bonds. There will be times when this can be difficult, especially when we are angry with them. That’s where exercises in being grateful are essential.
The physical benefits
Being grateful has a direct impact on sleep. Rather than stressing about everything out of your control when you lie down to go to bed, focus on everything you’re grateful for. This will allow your body to relax and help you sleep.
Some studies are also showing that people who engage in gratitude activities experience better health. However, it’s still a bit unclear whether correlation equals causation in this instance, but there seems to be a clear link in feeling better physically when we are grateful.
What you can do to be more grateful
Being grateful is all about mindset, which is to say it’s easier said than done to become actively grateful.
Big and small, look at all that you have in your life and say thankyou for it. You don’t have to just be happy for the big things. It’s easy to find negative things in our lives, but you can look at the little things going right: the sunny weather, the amazing cellular device you carry everywhere, or the few minutes of free time you have to read this article. Something as simple as having access to alcohol hand wipes can even be something you’re grateful for.
Don’t be so critical
Yes, there are negatives in the day and in life. Try to focus on those little things going right. You don’t have everything, but pull your focus away from that.
This is a step that isn’t just a mindset. This will take time and effort to achieve, but this is one of the true actions we can take to increase our gratefulness. This asks you to dedicate five to ten minutes everyday to focus on everything you have to be grateful for. These can be the simple things, the big things, and the people you have. It will take time, but studies have shown that at the end of a ten week period, people who did this regularly reported feeling much happier.
Keep a journal
If you’re someone that needs to physically do something to impact your mindset, then this could be the perfect solution. After spending 5-10 minutes being mindful of what you have to be grateful for, write those things down. This act of writing them down will cause everything to feel more real. It will also allow you to feel as if you’re actively doing something. This puts you in a better mindset and makes it easier to feel that optimism for life.
Do something for others
While it’s great when we are grateful, having others be grateful for us helps a lot. Being appreciated has a massive impact on our self esteem and thus our outlook. Volunteering your time for those who are less fortunate can also lead you to being more grateful for all that you have. Studies have shown that volunteering has a direct impact on our self worth, and a bit of altruism does a lot to give us a more optimistic outlook on the world.
You could do something as simple as participating in Clean Buddies’ buy and give program, where Clean Buddies will donate hand wipes to developing countries when you purchase a subscription.